Matilda Morton, Grade 8
As he squeezed his way through the crowded bus, keeping his head low trying to not be noticed, his eyes spotted an empty seat and he rushed toward it. But before he could get there, a voice bellowed, “This seat is taken.” Oliver looked up and saw Sienna standing above him with her hair pulled high and a smirk spread across her face. He just turned around and started looking for another seat because he knew there was nothing he could do, as he would never have the confidence to speak up. A vacant seat finally came into view and he quickly slipped into it before anyone else could steal it. Feeling a sense of relief flood over him, Oliver pulled out his tangled mess of headphones and pressed shuffle on his music, finally being able to drown out the buzzing of kids laughing and talking. He slowly shut his eyes, letting the music fill his ears. Suddenly a slight jerk pulled on his ears and the buzzing of the bus filled his ears once more. There in front of him stood Nathan with his gang behind him and Oliver’s headphones in hand. Couldn’t people just leave him alone for one day?
“Give them back,” Oliver said, just below a whisper. Nathan replied with a haughty laugh before throwing his headphones towards the front of the bus. Oliver watched them glide through the air until they landed on the floor being trampled by dozens of people. He gulped and looked up at Nathan and was met with his deep, blue eyes which pierced through his soul. Nathan and the other boys’ tall figures began to circle around him like a lion hunting their prey, the shadows of their bodies covering every spot of him. Oliver began sinking down in his seat, trying to hide his face as his heartbeat rapidly increased and cool sweat dripped down his forehead. Insults were thrown at him like bullets, each one stinging more than the other. His sight blurred with tears and everything became dizzy until suddenly a voice came through, drowning out the others. The insults stopped, Oliver slowly lifted his head and there he saw a new face he had never seen before.
“Are you alright?” the girl’s voice asked, but all he could manage in reply was a gentle nod. She slowly sat down next to him and Oliver tensed up slowly, slightly moving away from her. Why did she do that, why did she help him? No one had ever done this before. “Thanks,” Oliver murmured. She gave him a small smile, “They do that all the time, sorry.”
She gave a frown, “You shouldn’t let them do that.” Oliver bit his lip, not knowing how to reply. They sat there in silence until she spoke up. “I’m Melanie,” she said, holding out her hand. Oliver took it cautiously before saying, “Oliver.” Melanie smiled at him and he repaid the gesture. Maybe it was the start of something new…